By Linda Albert
(Page 2 of 2)
So now I have resorted to stream of consciousness in order
to see if there’s anything I might yet learn. It
occurs to me my unconscious is trying to tell me I am
currently standing on the stage of my life without a
Dreamcoat. “A something of something, a flash of
light, that golden coat flew out of sight. The world has
turned to darkness. I am all alone.” That might
be a little melodramatic; I’m pretty sure I’m not in a
full-fledged depression, but somehow there is a relationship
to this song and the way my emotional life now stands.
My husband is recuperating well. His surgeon says he
is ahead of schedule in his healing. Though walking
laboriously because of his 22 years with Parkinson’s, and
unable to be on his own, he is once again able to walk with
a walker much of the time, after having been confined full
time to a wheelchair for two months before the hip
replacement. We have loving and helpful children,
caring friends and, when needed, professional help. We live
in an apartment with beautiful views. There is a lot
for which to be grateful. I know this. But life
has gotten narrower and more confining. My husband is
frustrated and sometimes angry that he is not more
independent; I am more impatient.
In writing this, I realize I am currently without a dream.
This is a painful realization. The illusion of control
I had in regard to my husband’s Parkinson’s disease has
disappeared. And, worst of all, the sense of mutual
purpose and harmony of interests we enjoyed together during
our Florida retirement seems, in larger part than I wish, to
have slipped away as well. I hope this is temporary,
but how can I know? Our sense of hope and optimism is harder
to come by some days; that silver lining is harder to find.
While I’m not ready to give up, the realities are clear.
We are in a new phase of life, and new challenges await us:
how to accept and cope with the growing demands of a
progressive illness with all its attendant emotional
complexity and confusion; how to find the necessary balance
between giving care and providing safety while continuing to
respect my husband’s obvious need for autonomy; how to find
interests we can still enjoy together despite new
limitations and changing needs on both our parts, and,
finally, how to discover and manage an independent life for
myself away from illness and responsibility without feeling
guilty that in doing so I am abandoning my husband and
leaving him behind.
“The world and I we are still waiting. Anticipating.
Any dream will do. Bring back that colored coat, that
amazing colored coat. Bring back that colored coat.
That amazing colored coat.”